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Interview with Johnny B Truant, author of Fat Vampire

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Tell us about Fat Vampire
It’s about a guy who’s very overweight and out of shape when he’s turned into a vampire. The idea came up on a podcast I co-host (Better Off Undead, episode 6 ) when we wondered why vampires are always “perfect and beautiful.” Does vampirism really just make you thin? Or does it freeze you where you are? So this book starts with that premise – what if you were turned into a “fat vampire,” and frozen that way for eternity?

What genre is it?
Somewhere between horror and humor. It’s not truly horror because it’s so stupid and satirical, but it is at least somewhat horror because it’s plenty bloody and has vampires in it.

What kind of readers will it appeal to?
Readers with a good sense of humor who appreciate a good romp and like to see reinventions of old ideas. Most of the positive responses I get are, “This is a refreshing new angle on a genre that’s been done to death.” I also hope it will appeal to anyone who’s ever felt like a misfit or an outsider. Several people have said they were afraid I’d mock my overweight main character, but found that he’s the hero and that you inevitably end up cheering for him and laughing with him, not at him.

It is a new angle on the genre, isn’t it? Are there other fat vampires in fiction?
Yeah, several people have taken great delight in pointing them out to me. There was a fat vampire in the True Blood HBO series and another in the True Blood comics. Neither are like my Reginald, though. There was a minor fat vampire character in one of the Blade movies. Also, I discovered minutes before publishing my first Fat Vampire book that there’s another book by the same title, by Simon Rex. He only has one, though, and it is quite different.

What is Reginald like? And tell us about Maurice too.
Reginald is a guy who is quite down on himself at the start of the novel, but who grows as we learn more about him. He’s a 350 pound guy working at a fitness supply company with a bunch of perfect-looking male model types. When he becomes a vampire, he again feels dogged by the “perfect” vampires, but soon realizes he has abilities that they lack… and has those in spades.

Maurice is Reginald’s co-worker, but Maurice works the night shift and they only overlap for a few hours each day. He looks like he’s nineteen, but he’s actually a two thousand year old vampire who’s one of the strongest and fastest of his kind.

Complete this sentence for us: if you like _________________, then you’ll love Fat Vampire.
That’s pretty hard. Maybe Shaun of the Dead?

What can you tell us about the future of the series?
I’m working on Fat Vampire 4 right now… the rough is done and I hope to have it published by the middle of March, 2013. That book is a turning point, wherein we’ll see huge upsets in the balance between the world’s vampires and the world’s humans. Books 5 and 6 (where the series will end) will explore that further. I know exactly what will happen but can’t say much without spoiling it. Let’s just say that there will be a ton of blood and that Reginald, Maurice, and Nikki’s characters are about to do some epic shit.

Can’t wait. Can you tell us a bit about your other books?
I have two other projects. One is my first novel, The Bialy Pimps. That’s a non-supernatural humor/satire story about a Clerks-style bagel deli that decides to abuse its customers and is rewarded with out-of-control fame. The other is a series I’m SUPER excited about called Unicorn Western, which I’m co-writing with Sean Platt. I can’t reveal much about the future of that one other than to say that it will be a 9-book series and that we have other projects planned in that universe. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a fantasty/western mash-up about a stoic, dusty gunslinger who rides a talking unicorn. It’s absolutely stupidly hilarious while also being really badass and cool in the story arc. That one is, like the Harry Potter books, appropriate for kids and adults. (My other books are full of swearing and violence and hence aren’t for kids.)

Talking about Sean Platt, he hosts The Self-Publishing Podcast with you, doesn’t he? Can you tell us about it?
It’s ostensibly a place where listeners go to learn about the business of self-publishing in today’s marketplace from three guys on the front lines, but in actuality it’s just Sean, Dave, and my mastermind meeting that we let others listen to. We also tell lots of dick jokes.

You have other podcasts too, right?
We have Better Off Undead, which is ostensibly a horror show but is actually total chaos wherein we talk about nothing, yet people seem to like it. The idea for that show was to attract people who might also like (and hence buy) our fiction.

Tell us a bit more about yourself
I’m a husband and a family man before I’m a writer, so time with my family is vital. My wife works part time and my kids are homeschooled, so we get a lot of time together. I’m also a pretty serious gym rat and am totally ADHD about my pursuits. Last year, for instance, I did four major endurance events (an Olympic triathlon, a half Ironman triathlon, a bike century, and a marathon) in a two-month span of time, but this year I did no running or biking at all. This year I decided to get a six-pack. My wife has stopped trying to figure me out and just rolls with my odd obsessions.

Have you got a website where readers can keep up with your work? How can we follow you on Twitter and/or Facebook?
My website is JohnnyBTruant.com, but that site splits billing between my fiction and my other business of teaching human potential stuff. You can, however, join my free books list there. On Twitter, I’m @JohnnyBTruant, and I’m reasonably active there; that’s probably the best place to get me. I suck at Facebook, but you can find me there if you occasionally want me to spam you with worthless crap.

What’s next?
I’ll be responsible for around 2 million published words this year, but I don’t want to blow the lid off of most of that. I’ll finish the 6-book Fat Vampire arc and the 9-book Unicorn Western arc, and then there are two more 9-book projects in the Unicorn Western universe coming later this year. After that I have a few novels I’d like to write that are fuller in depth and scope… maybe in the tradition of my first novel, The Bialy Pimps.

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